The crackdown has occurred despite the Amazigh achieving greater recognition in recent years, including in the constitution. A 2016 amendment declared Tamazight, the Berber language, Algeria’s second official language after Arabic, and recognized ‘Amazighness’ as a part of the national identity. In 2018, the Amazigh new year was designated as a public holiday.
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Figures from 2018 show that the number of students in primary schools learning Tamazight has increased from 500,000 the previous year to 600,000 students across 4,200 primary schools. A better focus on teaching the language could help limit the number of children who fail school because their first language is Tamazight rather than Arabic.